The bright red blinking lights spread across the road, breaking the pitch black of the night. I stopped and rolled down the window, feeling the unpleasant cold rain hitting my face. A police officer in a rain smock leaned over.
‘Road’s closed. Landslide down the mountainside.’
‘The Old Military road too?’ This was the usual alternative route.
There was nothing I could do, and no point in being mad at the police officer stuck out in the middle of nowhere, getting soaked. I made a three-point turn and headed back the way I’d come, with the prospect of the seventy-mile detour ahead. It happened once or twice every winter and you just had to accept it. I settled in for the journey as the headlights shone into the darkness.
I almost missed her as I drove along at a steady fifty in the rain. It was the car I saw first, and then her. She was waving. I couldn’t leave her on her own in the middle of the night.
‘Thank God,’ she said, wiping her soaked hair from her face. ‘It just stopped working and there’s no ‘phone reception around here.’
‘It’s the hills,’ I offered. ‘Where you headed?’
‘Nowhere in particular. I’m touring round.’
That was when the thought first came into my head. That urge that I had suppressed for so long. Long enough that no one was looking for me anymore.
The rain had made the earth soft and the shovel made light work of the forest floor. It was a shallow grave, but good enough. Unless another landslide revealed her body.
I didn’t get home until four in the morning and I would have to leave early to follow the detour and still make it to work on time. Only time for two hours sleep. It had been worth it though.